CityLight Prayer Breakfast
Speaker: Sylvia Mickens
Pastor/Director of Christ Central Columbia
7 AM Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012
Brookland Conference Center
1066 Sunset Blvd., W. Columbia, SC
I was only 5 years old when my parents took me to a revival where Rev. A. A. Allen was preaching. It was at that meeting that God began to speak to my heart. It was at that meeting that God showed me a vision of myself baptizing people in a large body of water.
I didn’t understand it then, but almost 50 years later, on a mission trip to South Africa, I stood in the Indian Ocean baptizing God’s people.
I know that God is always speaking to His creation. It was at the age of five that I first recall Him speaking to me. God has spoken to me many times since that moment. Being spoken to by God Himself is such an honor that I tend to be awe that He chooses to create me. I tend to be awe that He chooses to speak to and use me. I often feel inadequate when it comes to doing Kingdom Work.
Growing up in a Christian family, I still struggled with completely yielding to God. I, like so many of us, would prefer to do things our way. I learned that when God chose me, He knew my faults and imperfections. Yet, He still chose me. Finally, after falling on my face, running into many dead end streets, and being beat down by sin, I found out His Way to be much better than mine.
I clearly remember the day I accepted Christ as my Savior. I grew up with parents who were real, parents who practiced what they preached. We went to church what seemed like every day. This particular day was no different than any other day. Or, so I thought.
When I was dressing for church, I had no idea that would be the day my life would change. I went to church that day, but as soon as I got in and sat down, I knew something out of the ordinary was going to happen. I wanted to leave, but for some reason I couldn’t. I now know that it was God telling me that this was my new birthday.
When it was time for the BENEDICTION, I couldn’t wait to get out of the building. In the middle of the closing song, Pastor Hattie Mickens, Pastor of Holy Light Tabernacle Church, stopped the song and said “Is there somebody else who wants to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior”?
Now, I had been trying to keep it together until then, but something broke in me and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was speaking to me through her. That was some 28 years ago. It’s been a long journey, but Jesus has been right by my side.
On a Mission
Shortly after being saved and working in the church, I felt an emptiness in my spirit as if I was just not doing enough for the Kingdom. I was never satisfied just working in the church. Preaching, teaching Sunday school, directing the Choir, and serving in the kitchen just did not fulfill the longing I had in my soul.
I took classes and went to conferences trying to become a better Christian. I accepted the call from God to preach the Gospel in 1985. Through my study in the Word, I realized that God wanted to share some of the deeper mysteries of the Bible with me and I had a hunger to know Him in a deeper, more intimate way. God then revealed His Sacred Name, Yahweh and the incomparable Name of His Son Yahshua to me. I was honored and I give Him all the glory as He continues to give me insights into my Hebraic roots.
I live by Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh (God), thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you good hope in the end.”
I am privileged to be the mother of one adult son, three adult daughters, one adopted baby girl, and four grandchildren. In 1991, I became a Licensed Therapeutic Foster Parent for SAFY (Safe Alternatives for Families and Youths) and have gained much experience in shaping and enhancing the lives of many children. I have fostered over 40 children during the last 20 years and I currently have a 15 year old that I am working with. My experience as a Foster Mother would prove very useful when God would later bless me with a newborn baby and a new mission to take care of abused, neglected, and homeless infants.
The Christ Central Story
In 1994, my spiritual father, Reverend S. A. Williams, invited me to come help a man who was feeding the homeless in the basement of a church. Reluctantly, I went out of obedience, and quickly realized that this kind of ministry was not for me. This was my beginning with what is now known as Christ Central Ministries, Inc., founded by Pastor Jimmy Jones.
Even though I tried to leave it alone, God would not let me turn this ministry loose. So, I started out serving plates, and from there I sang on the choir, worked with the women from Hannah House, and drove bus for Kid’s Kamp. From there, I became associate pastor.
God spoke to me to leave my benefits and full time job with Richland School District Two to serve full time in the inner city ministry of Missions for Christ Central without any salary. Talk about faith on trial! My faith was truly tested.
By this time, I had already witnessed so many miracles and seen God do so many wonderful things in the lives of people and even in my life. I chose to obey His call and become a full time local missionary. It was in my work at Christ Central that I learned to be a true servant in the Kingdom of God.
When God spoke to Pastor Jimmy Jones to open mission stations all over the world, he handed the mantle of Pastor to me. Seventeen years later, I continue to serve as Pastor and Director of Christ Central Columbia.
Christ Central is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Christ Central has continued to grow and expand its services to include: hot meals, food distribution, clothing distribution, transitional housing for families, men, women and children, mentoring and tutorial programs for children from toddlers to high school students, entrepreneurial training in agriculture, life skills, and career education, and a coaching center for families dealing with autistic family members of all ages.
Christ Central is cross-denominational. Respect to all denominations is given as we serve our neighbors with help in our hands and hope in our words. We operate by faith and through volunteers and donors who willingly give of their time, talent and treasure. Our greatest joy is to witness the demonstration of the daily presence of the Lord we serve.
Today, Christ Central Ministries consists of 36 Mission Stations in South Carolina, the Christ Central Institute, which is a Bible College, the Career Arts Institute, which is a faith based certified recovery program, and the intern program.
Christ Central Columbia, located at 2401 Main Street in Columbia, started out as a soup kitchen serving about 20 people a lunch meal each day. Today, we are a DHEC Certified Kitchen with an ‘A’ rating, serving over 150 healthy, nutritional meals daily.
Additional services offered at the
Columbia mission station include:
Over 3,000 healthy meals served, 800 snacks to after school programs, 90+ families served groceries , Clothes: men, women, children, Worship Services, Jobs/community service hours, Snacks for daycare, Personal hygiene packs, Bus tickets, Pampers, A/A meetings, Prescriptions , GED classes, Support classes, Health education, Exercise classes, Medical Services, Prayer Meetings, Benefit Bank, Foot Care Clinic, Women’s meetings, N/A meetings
The vision of Shakira House was birthed in my heart about five years ago when a beautiful baby girl was born to a homeless woman who was volunteering at Christ Central. This young lady just wanted a place to belong.
After working with her, I found out that she was HIV positive, addicted to crack, suffered from Hepatitis C, and was in an abusive relationship. Immediately after giving birth, the little girl, whose name was Shakira, was taken into protective custody.
I was called to the hospital by the mother and asked if I would help her. I looked into the eyes of a baby who was only 3 hours old and her pain spoke to my heart. I was so broken that this beautiful little girl had so much going against her in the world she had just entered.
In her brokenness, her own mother could not even help. I left the hospital that day knowing that I could not save all the hurting babies, but I sure was determined to save this one.
After three appointments with The Department of Social Services and two court appearances, exactly thirty eight days later, I brought that precious little baby girl home to my family. Shakira is now a healthy five year old, full of life and love, with a bright future.
The ultimate goal of Shakira House is to protect and care for at-risk infants and help them grow up in a loving home. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven”.
The greatest investment one can make is to sow in the life of a child. Shakira House is a great opportunity for you to make a difference in the life of a child.
In addition to my responsibilities as Pastor and director of Christ Central, I serve beside my mother, Pastor Dr. Hattie Mae Mickens, as the Assistant Pastor of Holy Light Tabernacle, a Messianic ministry that embraces its Jewish roots. In 2010, I was licensed and ordained in theEcumenical Church Worldwide. I also serve on the Ecumenical Council and have served for over ten years in local missions at the House of Praise under the leadership of Bishop Darrell and Mary Croft. I am the Program Coordinator for the CityLight monthly prayer breakfast.
Ministry takes you in many directions. When God leads me, I have to follow. As such, I serve on the following boards:
Holy Light Tabernacle Church Executive Board, Christ Central Executive Board, Esther Women of Influence Executive Board, First Ecumenical Council, and the Eternal Release Executive Board.
I am the fifth of fourteen children born to Pastor Hattie Mae and the late Deacon James Mickens. I have one adult son, Rick; three adult daughters Debra, Crystal, Alita, and one baby girl, Shakira; four grandchildren; Detrick, Kelcey, Christofer, and Marketta and 1 great grandson; DJ. My ultimate goal in life is to record a True Name Gospel CD and to continue to fulfill God’s purpose for me. In my walk, I have been privileged to meet some of the most powerful loving and giving people. I’m just honored to be a vessel used by God and it’s an even greater honor to serve His people.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty working power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!” Ephesian 3: 20-21